Substance Use Over Time Among Sexual and Gender Minority People: Differences at the Intersection of Sex and Gender

Annesa Flentje, Gowri Sunder, Alexis Ceja, Nadra E. Lisha, Torsten B. Neilands, Bradley E. Aouizerat, Micah E. Lubensky, Matthew R. Capriotti, Zubin Dastur, Mitchell R. Lunn, Juno Obedin-Maliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Sexual and gender minority (SGM) people are at greater risk for substance use than heterosexual and cisgender people, but most prior work is limited by cross-sectional analyses or the examination of single substance use. This study examined substance use over time among SGM people to identify patterns of polysubstance use at the intersection of sex and gender. Methods: Data were collected annually over 4 years from SGM respondents (n = 11,822) in The Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality (PRIDE) Study. Differences in substance use patterns (any prior 30-day use of 15 substances) by gender subgroup were examined with latent class analysis, and multinomial regression models tested relationships between gender subgroup and substance use. Results: Eight classes of substance use were observed. The three most common patterns were low substance use (49%), heavy episodic alcohol use (‡5 alcoholic drinks on one occasion) with some cannabis and tobacco use (14%), and cannabis use with some tobacco and declining heavy episodic alcohol use (13%). Differences observed included lower odds of patterns defined by heavy episodic alcohol use with some cannabis and tobacco use in all gender subgroups relative to cisgender men and persons with low substance use (odds ratios [ORs] 0.26–0.60). Gender expansive people assigned female at birth, gender expansive people assigned male at birth, and transgender men had greater odds of reporting cannabis use with small percentages of heavy episodic alcohol and tobacco use (ORs: 1.41–1.60). Conclusion: This study suggests that there are unique patterns of polysubstance use over time among gender subgroups of SGM people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLGBT health
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • alcohol use
  • gender
  • polysubstance use
  • population health
  • tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Urology


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